Please join us at Columbia University's Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5 at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
“Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and the Early Confucian Self”
Confucian Role Ethics takes its point of departure from “a specific vision of human beings as relational persons constituted by the roles they live rather than as individual selves” (Ames and Rosemont, “Were the Early Confucians Virtuous?”). It is this vision, its proponents maintain, that makes it distinct not only from Western ethical theories such as deontology and utilitarianism, but also from Aristotelian and other forms of virtue ethics. But does CRE mean by contrasting “relational persons” with “individual selves”? In this paper, I examine three different versions of the contrast defended by CRE: themetaphysical thesis that for Confucius there is no “substantial self” left over once we take away a person’s social relations; the psychological thesis that there is no steadfast distinction between “inner” and “outer” in the Analects; and the moral developmental thesis that Confucian self-cultivation always takes place within the context of roles. I argue that in each of these areas CRE can gain from a greater engagement with Aristotelian virtue ethics.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5